Malaysian-born panda cub Nuan Nuan returns to China

SEPANG - Caretaker Ahmad Farhan Ahmad Razei held Nuan Nuan's paw one last time as he told the baby panda to be a good girl during the flight to China.

"This is what I do every morning since she was one week old. I will miss her very much.

"On her last day at Zoo Negara, I spent the whole day with her and fed her using my hands," he said after the sending-off ceremony at the MASkargo depot yesterday.

The first Malaysian-born female panda cub can be a handful, according to Ahmad Fahran.

"She is naughty and playful, but she is also loved to bits by those who care for her," he said.

Ahmad Farhan, 26, had been taking care of Nuan Nuan, which means warmth, since she was one week old.

"Between the first and eight weeks, Nuan Nuan was with her mother Liang Liang.

"After that, she started to be active and we had to carry her around. She is cheerful and playful. She loves it when we give her toys such as a broom or ball," he added.

Nuan Nuan is the offspring of Xing Xing and Liang Liang.

She was born within 15 months of the arrival of Xing Xing and Liang Liang in Malaysia on a 10-year loan.

They came on May 21, 2014 to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China.

The Government previously said Nuan Nuan would be sent to China, explaining that the Giant Panda Conservation Centre at Zoo Negara would need to be expanded if Nuan Nuan remained longer.

Nuan Nuan left Malaysia on board Flight MH6476 which departed at about 5.35pm and landed at the Shuanglin Airport in Chengdu at 10.55pm (local time).

Nuan Nuan was then brought to the Dujiangyan Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan.

Ahmad Farhan revealed that Nuan Nuan has her favourite panda teddy bear, which she brings around even when she goes to sleep.

"We tried to give Nuan Nuan another teddy bear but she prefers the panda teddy bear we gave her from the Zoo Negara souvenir shop," he said.

On Nuan Nuan's favourite food, he said the fluffball loves carrot and has its own panda cake - made from soy beans, corn and a bit of rice in the form of a mooncake.

Zoology, Veterinary and Giant Panda Conservation Centre director Dr Mat Naim Ramli, who is part of the entourage to China until Friday, said the team had made all the necessary preparations for almost three months.

"We are worried about motion sickness and movement and we are trying to minimise the stress. It will be a long journey for Nuan Nuan.

"We will continue to monitor the situation each day," he said.

MASkargo chief executive officer Ahmad Luqman Mohd Azmi said the team has expertise and knowledge in live animal handling and transportation.

"We successfully transported Nuan Nuan's parents just over three years ago and it is our national duty to bring their daughter back to China," he said.

"We have to make sure the documentation is in order and crate specifications are in compliance with international rules."

The cost of sending Nuan Nuan to China is believed to be RM448,000 (S$150,000), said sources.